June 15th, 2021 – Kevin Hart “doesn’t give a s—” about cancel culture, and he took plenty of time to explain his thinking. During an interview promoting his new film Fatherhood, Hart, currently the highest-earning standup in the world, said he’s racked up three or four cancellations throughout his time in the spotlight.
“When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect?” he asked during an interview with The Sunday Times. “Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time? I don’t understand. I don’t expect perfection from my kids. I don’t expect it from my wife, friends, employees. Because, last I checked, the only way you grow up is from f—ing up. I don’t know a kid who hasn’t f—ed up or done some dumb s—.”
Hart has been in the hot seat in recent years when it comes to tweets that didn’t age so perfectly. In 2018, the comic, perhaps still unbothered by supposed cancel culture, chose to not host the Oscars after the Academy told him to issue an apology for homophobic tweets he posted during 2009-2011 that resurfaced.
“[They] basically said, ‘Kevin, apologize for your tweets of old or we’re going to have to move on to find another host,'” Hart said at the time in an Instagram video. “I chose to pass. I passed on the apology. The reason why I’ve passed is that I’ve addressed it several times.”
The Night School actor told the Sunday Times that he does believe people should face some type of repercussion when they cross a line but didn’t specify what that may be or who decides if they went too far.
“If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached,” Hart said. “But when you just talk about…nonsense? When you’re talking, ‘Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!’ Shut the f*** up! What are you talking about?“
Hart even went on to acknowledge that some people may end up deciding that a comic’s humor or perspective doesn’t match with their own viewpoint and make the decision to no longer support them.
“If there’s a message to take from anything I’ve said, it’s that in this world of opinion, it’s OK to just disagree,” he told the UK paper. “It’s OK to not like what someone did and to say that person wasn’t for me.”
The debate in labeling the decision to no longer support a public figure seems to bounce between cancelling someone or holding them accountable. Hart isn’t the only entertainer to speak out on the topic in recent weeks. Seth Rogen, Billy Crystal, and Kat Williams have all made their thoughts known – with varying opinions.
For his part, Hart believes that most comics fall into his camp and are afraid to deliver material they actually want to share.
He also believes that he has learned from his mistakes and changed for the better. Ultimately, that’s what he wants from comics and audiences — the space for both mistakes and growth. When asked how he would react if additional past, problematic tweets came to light, Hart said people could “go ahead” and pull them up.
“There is nothing I can do. You’re looking at a younger version of myself,” he said. “A comedian trying to be funny and, at that attempt, failing. Apologies were made. I understand now how it comes off. I look back and cringe. So it’s growth. It’s about growth.”